I have been consultant to several local government units. Despite my constant advice to them to quit the procedure of submitting legislative resolutions to the local chief executive for the latter’s approval, it seems that the practice is still very much alive and well.
Although there is no legal proscription against it, that exercise remains a hollow gesture. It adds nothing to the resolution by way of making it executable. Worse, it even detracts from the principle of separation of powers as it evinces subservience of one branch to a co-equal branch of government.
A legislative resolution is nothing more than a mere expression of the sentiment or opinion of the legislative council. Certiorari will not even lie against the council for its enactment of a mere resolution. (Sps. Yusay v. Court of Appeals, et. al., G.R. No. 156684, 6 April 2011). It is not a draft ordinance that requires the positive action of the local chief executive for its execution. In fact, it cannot be executed by and in itself no matter how many times the local chief executive affixes his signature to it.
Once more, this empty process has been observed of late in Sangguniang Panglungsod’s Resolution No. 1207-2015, entitled, A Resolution Urging The [City-ENRO], The [CMRB] And The [CPDO] Not To Accept Further Applications For Quarrying Operations In Areas Located In Montible River And Iwahig River Until The Evaluation of The Assessment Of The Carrying Capacity Or Volume of Aggregates In These Areas Are Completed. At the end of this resolution appears the approving signature of the City Mayor.
Obviously, from the resolution’s title alone, the legislative council knew that it cannot compel those executive offices to do what it is urging them to without impinging on the latter’s exercise of their official prerogatives. That was why it merely expressed its sentiment and stand on the matter simply by way of a resolution instead of a draft ordinance.
Consequently, the executive officials at the helm of those offices know that they are not duty-bound to follow and comply with the resolution, and that they are completely free to proceed with the regular exercise of the mandates of their respective office unless their chief executive formally directs them not to. This is precisely because the latter’s signature in the resolution is a mere superfluity that does not convert it into an ordinance that has the weight and imperativeness of law.
All the same, the situation became awkward and confusing for the concerned executives because their chief had decided to put his signature on the resolution even where there is absolutely no obligation on his part to do so.
Observably, the local chief executives’ propensity to sign and approve legislative resolutions has negative things stacked against it: It is legally unnecessary, it does not make the resolution any executable, it skews proper intra-governmental procedures and relations, and it sows confusion in the rank of executive officials.
It is high time that this pointless tradition be corrected and checked.